Members of the Missouri General Assembly are pushing to up the state’s cigarette tax, which is an effort that has been defeated twice in the past decade.
Missouri’s 17-cent cigarette tax is the lowest in the country, with the national average being $1.46 per pack. State Rep. Mary Still, D-Columbia, has proposed a bill to increase the cigarette tax to 89 cents per pack, which could bring in $400 million for education. The tax would also apply to other tobacco products.
Earlier this month, state Sen. John Lamping, R-Ladue, filed legislation to increase Missouri’s cigarette tax to 43 cents per pack.
Attempts to raise Missouri’s cigarette tax failed in 2002 and 2006 statewide votes, gaining 49 percent of the vote each time.
In 2002, legislators proposed a 2.75-cent tax increase per cigarette and a 20 percent increase to other tobacco products. If passed, the measure would have generated an extra $342 million, according to an October 2002 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Similarly, in 2006, lawmakers tried to add a 4-cent tax increase to each cigarette and a 20 percent tax increase to other tobacco products. The tax hike would have brought in about $351 million, which would have been earmarked for anti-smoking and health care programs, according to a November 2006 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.